The New Horizon survey, conducted every five years by WYSE, this year attracted more than 57,000 responses from 188 countries.
The survey picked up six ‘millennial’ and ‘Generation Z’ travel trends which WYSE says the travel industry needs to take into consideration.
“Language learning was the purpose of travel for about 23% of respondents”
One of the trends reported in the survey was the rise in so-called ‘blurring’. This signals that younger travellers combine different activities into their trip. For example, those reporting combining holidays with learning went up 7% between 2017 and 2012.
“Combining holiday and educational travel is becoming more popular,” David Chapman, director general of WYSE Travel Confederation, told The PIE News.
“More than 20% of the young travellers who responded to the New Horizons IV Survey in 2017 were mixing holiday with language learning. This is up from 14% in our 2012 survey.”
Chapman explained that the largest number of respondents moved towards language learning as a travel purpose.
“Language learning was the purpose of travel for about 23% of respondents in our 2017 and 2012 surveys,” he said.
Among the other trends picked up by the survey were the rising popularity of online travel agencies and the rise of ‘digital nomadism’.
Most youths still book their main trips with their family and friends, with some assistance from social media. This year saw a rise in the use of online travel agencies, a shift from a decade ago where 70% of youth travel plans and bookings went through travel agency offices.
In 2017, 0.6% of respondents classified their travel style as ‘digital nomad’, which represented 1.8 million trips. These young people manage their locations independently and book their air travel online.
Commenting on the trend, Chapman said it’s difficult to predict how the rise of ‘digital nomads’ will change educational travel.
“We know from our survey that digital nomads tend to take shorter trips and are activity-intense in destination,” he said.
“Based on this, you could venture to say that short-format courses would be most likely to fit into the digital nomad’s style.”
World Tourism Organization indicated that youth travel accounted for 23% of international arrival in 2017, with an estimated worth of $280 billion. The average trip expenditure reported in the WYSE survey was $3,357 in 2017, an 18% increase since 2012.